A distinctive pure white bird with long legs and neck. Seen near water across Dorset.
A common sight in Dorset these days is the elegant little egret (Egretta garzetta). Despite its fondness for feeding in muddy places it always looks immaculate in its pure white attire.
When I started out 'birding' back in the 1970's seeing a little egret was a major event but by the mid-eighties they had established as a UK breeding species and now they can be seen as far north as Inverness. I remember getting a phone call one morning, it must have been 1987, from someone we knew who said he had seen a albino heron in the field opposite his house in Stockbridge, Hampshire. Within 20 minutes I was there and was delighted to a little egret feeding alongside the River Test; that was the first one I had seen inland and some distance from the coast.
The spread of the little egret has been quite remarkable and that gives rise to speculation that possibly the spoonbill, which is now a frequent visitor to Poole harbour, and possibly the cattle egret may colonise our shores as well. Indeed, the spoonbill does now nest in this country but that is a different story.
Frequent seen around Poole and Christchurch harbours nowadays but you can also find them inland along the fields near our main rivers. I have seen fifteen or more near Shillingstone on the Stour, five in fields near Wareham by the river Frome and also one on the stream in Bere Regis. Expect them anywhere in the county now.
This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:
This map shows the nature reserves and 'hot-spots' featured on the Nature of Dorset where this species has been seen. Obviously it will occur in other places too but this is intended to give you a graphical guide as to the species distribution in Dorset. Click any marker to see the name of the site; you can then click again to see more information about that site.
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This website has been created by, and is the copyright of, Peter Orchard, Wareham, Dorset. The website is run as a hobby and the information is made available free of charge to anyone who finds it useful. No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions in the data and information supplied. Copyright of all photographs on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains with the publisher or the contributor and they should not be used by others for any purpose without permission.
Please note that the data on this website is not the result of scientific research, it is a collection of random observations made by a very amateur enthusiast. The species database covers everything from mammals to fungi and no one can be an expert in all of these taxa and much of the identification is restricted by the quality of reference material available. One person cannot possibly produce the definitive guide to the nature of Dorset and so species lists will be incomplete and there will be reserves not covered but as time goes by so the database will grow and (depending on health and the weather) the content will become more comprehensive as time passes.
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